The MEC for CoGTA in the Eastern Cape, Zolile Williams notes the EFF media statement dated 8 May 2023,
The statement alleges that the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) has failed to invoke section 139(5) of the constitution to dissolve Chris Hani District Municipality.

Firstly, it is important to put things in their proper perspective and to correct factual inaccuracies and distortions. Constitutionally, the invocation of section 139 (5) is the role of the Provincial Treasury and not that of CoGTA.

Indeed, EEF is correct that the EC EXCO invoked section 139 (5) of the Constitution on 8 December 2021. However, the resolution was never about the dissolution of the Municipal Council but rather about the imposition of the mandatory Financial Recovery Plan. Subsequent thereto several meetings have taken place to iron out the differences.

The Provincial Treasury is intervening in Chris Hani District Municipality having noted the financial situation.
Although the municipality has improved from where it was in terms of the audit situation, the financial sustainability index of the municipality remains a concern.

The performance of the municipality on grant expenditure has been impressive in that they received additional grant allocation from the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) from the national government as an incentive.

There is no interference from anyone in respect of what both CoGTA and Provincial Treasury are doing in that municipality. Arbitrarily dragging people who originate from Chris Hani District Municipality in the intervention process of the Provincial Treasury in the municipality is not only mischievous but a misguided attempt to play into the gallery.

The intervention of CoGTA in the municipality must not be dragged into politics and we must be criticised based on what we execute instructed by the legislation and not based on the figment of the imagination of those who do not do research before they talk.

Furthermore, it is important to correct the twisting facts in the EFF Media Statement. It is Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality which is under Section 139 (7) of the Constitution and not Chris Hani District Municipality.

Section 139 (7) of the Constitution states that the National Executive shall intervene in the stead of the relevant Provincial Executive where circumstances warrant. At present, Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality is under section 139(7) under the oversight of the National Treasury. The Minister of Finance has deployed the Administrator to carry out the financial recovery plan. Steady progress is taking root.

On 6 February 2023, the former Minister of CoGTA Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma accompanied by Minister Thembi Nkadimeng visited Komani to listen to the complaints of the residents who are demanding that Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality to be dissolved. Dr. Dlamini-Zuma said that the law does not permit her to unilaterally dissolve the Municipal Council, however, she would first table the Cabinet Memo before parliament on 15 February jointly with the Minister of Finance and wait for the Cabinet’s response.

She assured the Komani Protest Group that she is seized with the matter and understands the content of their petition.

On 26 April 2023, the Deputy Minister for CoGTA, Parks Tau accompanied by MEC Zolile Williams visited Komani. The Deputy Minister was sent by the Cabinet to further engage the Stakeholders of Enoch Mgijima Municipality. He cautioned the stakeholders to avoid rushing into the dissolution of the municipal council.

On 15 May 2023, Deputy Minister Parks Tau will report to the Cabinet about the progress of engaging the stakeholders in Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality and thereafter the Cabinet will take a decision on the wayforward.

The EFF should be seized with the opportunity to form part of the engagements and not run to the gallery without properly researched information.

The MEC is open to engagements with the EFF or any other party with the view to take service delivery to the people and not engage in political gimmicks.

 Issued by: EC COGTA
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